FOUNDATION for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) and Gardiner Foundation have awarded $49,545 to 11 community groups across Gippsland, two of them in Wellington, for local initiatives that will “support, strengthen and sustain their dairying regions.”

In total, 27 groups across Gippsland, South-West and Northern Victoria are sharing in $124,478 in grants.

For 22 years, the Gardiner Foundation Community Grants program has empowered not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) in Victoria’s dairy communities to create and lead projects that help locals to connect and support their farming regions to be sustainable and vibrant places to live and work.

A Better Life For Foster Kids in Sale has received $4,960 for the ‘Crisis Cases for Emergency Foster Care’ project. This aims to improve community health and social wellbeing via the provision of Crisis Cases to support the transition of children into a foster home emergency. Heyfield War Memorial Hall Committee of Management Inc received $3,300 to upgrade kitchen cupboards, which will increase utility for senior and disabled community members at the Hall. Allan Cameron, Gardiner Foundation Chief Executive, said that the organisation’s longstanding partnership with FRRR has enabled it to invest more than $2.4 million in Victoria’s dairying regions.

“The Community Grants Program aims to support purpose-driven, not-for-profit organisations in rural and regional Victoria by enhancing their capacity to serve their local communities effectively,” Mr Cameron said.

“Since the program began in 2003, we have supported over 600 projects across the state. These grants provide crucial financial support to community groups, helping them overcome challenges as they work to revitalise their communities.

“We take pride in recognising the remarkable efforts of these groups within their communities, often carried out voluntarily, and in assisting them by funding projects that they believe will significantly enhance community resilience.” Cameron said.

Jill Karena, FRRR Place Portfolio Lead, said that the impact that the Gardiner Foundation Community Grants program has had over the past 22 years is a testament to what is possible through collaboration with partners like Gardiner Foundation.

“Not-for-profits work tirelessly to strengthen and grow the social and cultural fabric of their communities. But with current the economic landscape and climate-related transitions impacting Victoria, keeping these organisations up and running is becoming exceedingly difficult. Therefore, it’s not surprising that this year we saw a predominant need from community groups for funding to develop organisational resilience and capacity,” Ms Karena said.

“Victoria’s dairy regions are resilient and resourceful, and we have seen, firsthand, the transformational change and outcomes that local people can achieve when they have access to funding.

“We are proud to play a small role in enabling these groups to drive change, build connections and share the vibrancy and determination of those living in Victoria’s dairying regions.”

A full list of grant recipients and funded projects can be found on FRRR’s website.